PRs : Singaporeans’ worries?

(Part 4 of the Singapore Census 2010 series)

by Leong Sze Hian

One aspect of the recently released Singapore Census 2010, which I think no media has talked about, is what the profile of permanent residents (PRs) may mean for Singaporeans?

Whilst I must confess at the onset, that this article is entirely speculative, and rather deficient in statistical veracity (unlike my normal pieces), I think it reflects the sentiments of many Singaporeans in the coffee shops, blogs, etc.

According to the article “ Foreigner numbers mirror economic figures (ST, Jan 13)”, almost half of the PR population last year were degree holders, compared with 18 per cent of citizens.

Does this mean that generally, it may be harder for Singaporeans to compete with PRs for jobs, because more of them are higher educated?

In this connection, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issues a pass to allow foreigners to come to Singapore for a year to look for a job.

Are there any developed countries in the world that allows foreigners to stay for a year to compete with citizens for jobs?

Of course, such foreigners would also contribute to our GDP growth.

When the MOM was asked as to how many foreigners have been issued with such passes, it declined to reveal it.

From my experience, if a request for a statistic is declined, the number may be quite a lot. Because if it’s not a large number, why not reveal it?

PRs - Cheaper, better, faster?

“Cheaper, better, faster”, ironically may be really true, in the context of PRs and such graduate foreigners here to look for jobs, because generally, they may be more “hungry” and have no dependents in Singapore to support or heavy financial commitments like a home mortgage.

If you think its bad enough for adult Singaporeans, the recent statistic that about 60 per cent of top ‘O’ Level students are foreigners, may have undesirable repercussions for Singaporean students too.

By the way, how many of the balance 40 per cent of top students are Singaporeans, if we take away PRs?

I have heard from the grapevine that some Singaporean students may be less motivated to study and do well in school, because they feel that their chances of beating their “genius” foreign classmates, may be quite slim.

Is this perhaps an unintended consequence of giving out so may scholarships to attract the best foreigners to come to Singapore to study – push up our academic standards, help to enhance our workfare competency, grow our GDP, etc?

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